Get it Right!

Listening to Writing Excuses on the way home from work today, I had a little mini epiphany.  In TV and Movies today, a lot of the supernatural elements are built on a Catholic mythos.  That is, they visibly depict angels and demons and other supernatural elements (such as the use of crucifixes and holy water) in a way that is generally consistent with the Catholic understanding of how those things actually work.  Not being Catholic, these depictions are really unsatisfying for me.

I was raised in a pentecostal/charismatic background, where the supernatural is considered very real, but things work very differently than what Catholics think.  For instance, in a movie with a pentecostal mythos, there would probably be a scene in which somebody tries to ward away the demon or vampire with drops of holy water.  No effect.  But get some anointing oil out and bam! instant hedge of protection.  It just works differently, and those differences are jarring.  The only think I can think to compare it to would be an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Soldier trying to watch Hurt Locker.  All the inaccuracies drive you nuts!

On the other hand, when I was a kid, I really enjoyed Frank Peretti novels.  I haven’t read much of his in a while, but Peretti started out writing supernatural thrillers based on a charismatic ethos.  It turns out I’m not actually all that in to thrillers, but the supernatural elements for me were gripping, because it was so… accurate, in a way that Hellboy could never hope to be.

So here’s the question:  What movies, books, etc, really grabbed you because the supernatural elements struck you as accurate to what you had been raised to believe?  On the other side, what stories completely knocked you out of the plot because they depicted supernatural elements in an “unrealistic” way?  What one supernatural or spiritual element do they never get right that you wish you could see depicted accurately… at least just once?


John H at Confessing Evangelical gives us more proof that the Pope is a closet evangelical. Or perhaps, not so closet.

At the same time, I’m starting to have afterthoughts about my agreement with John on the Lutheran understanding of assurance. The Lutheran emphasis has always been on the word preached with authority. The gospel has it’s effect as it is preached, and the Christian can have confidence in his salvation because it has been proclaimed to him personally by Jesus Christ, via the preacher. In the standard Lutheran liturgy, there is a time for public confession of sin, after which the minister proclaims, “your sins are forgiven.” And they are, because Jesus Christ has said so. In the same way, doubts about true conversion can be allayed with “But I’m baptized!” or even, “I am baptized! So there!

And there’s an element of truth to it – particularly when compared to a Catholic understanding that says, “unless you see me putting my own effort into it as well, it didn’t take.” In other words, the Catholic understanding is typically that sanctification is an intrinsic part of justification, to the point that assurance is withheld against the collateral of the ongoing fruit of a Christ-like life. The Lutheran balks and says no, the word of God preached is always effective. The preacher says I have been buried in Christ and raised with him, and so I have been. The word of God does not fail. I am a Christian.

But I’m starting to veer toward a more Calvinistic perspective, which is more biblical, I think. Continue reading “Assurance”